Chapter 1

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The first time Emery had punched a kid, it was back when he was a teenager, bullying a poor Pritwin Bailey into submission, landing him in the head teacher's office and a suspension on his behalf. It was a horrid mistake on his part, but since then, he never laid a finger on another person unless it would be used for self defense.

That being said, he never suspected he'd be back in the same office but instead, his old teacher, Patrice Aviosky, now held the position of head teacher. She was staring at him with a strange mixture of sorrow, disappointment, and concern. Her gaze continued to shift between himself and his son, Charlie, standing besides Emery's chair with his head down low and his right hand carefully cradled with his left. His dark locks keeping his eyes obscured from Emery's view, but he knew those emerald eyes would show that he was in deep thought.

Besides Charlie was a boy twice his size, who seemed to have a broken nose. The boy's father was bristling, but he was restraining himself as much as he could. They had gone through the recollection of events twice now and both times didn't explain much. Both boys were clearly hiding something, but neither would say what. Patrice decided to finish the circulating conversation.

"Well, I sincerely hope this doesn't happen again, Charlie. I expect you to be nice to your fellow students." Patrice said calmly. Charlie nodded silently, still preoccupied with his hand. "I will be giving you a two-week suspension, effective immediately." Charlie nodded again. Emery frowned, but he supposed punching was technically an offense worthy of suspension.

"I still believe you should have given the boy some ice." Emery muttered, running a hand through his unruly hair. He had come unprepared from his studio, throwing on a indigo coat and barely even trying to impress with his looks.

"He broke my son's nose! He doesn't deserve no damn ice pack! He should be expelled!" The other boy's father's eyes met with Patrice's and he immediately quieted himself. Patrice had that effect, after all these years.

"Miles, you can go on home." Miles nodded, his father still quite furious with the entire event, but allowed his son to take him out of the room. Patrice turned to Charlie, "Charlie, go get your things from your class. I need to speak with your father." Charlie hobbled out the room and the second the door closed, Patrice's eyes were back to that strange mixture.

"Nice to see you haven't lost your charms." Emery joked, smirking at his old teacher.

"Emery, I'm worried about you." Patrice expressed, arms crossed and eyes piercing through his soul. He grimaced. She wasn't up for games, it seemed.

"That hasn't changed either." Emery sighed.

"And more importantly, I'm worried about Charlie. His marks are slipping and he's punched a child!" Patrice added on.

"He's leaving information out purposefully." Emery muttered, "Miles probably said something and provoked him. He looks like the type to make trouble. You know Charlie, that's not his way."

"And I respect that, but," Patrice leaned forward slightly, "Emery, I think you need a woman's touch to this situation."

"Are you implying that I-,"

"Have you ever heard of an au pair?" She cut through his words. Emery thought for a moment. An au pair would involve somebody working in their small family. A domestic assistant. He nodded, still debating the prospect of having one. Patrice continued on, "Well, I'd like to direct you to a student that could work for best, in my opinion, Ceony Twill."

With a few clicks on her computer, she pulled up a picture of a young woman in her early twenties. Emery was automatically drawn to her complexion, her pale cheeks that had hints of freckles to her orange hair. Her eyes were an amazing shade of blue, one that he could get lost in. He shook himself mentally. He wasn't like other men, to be automatically attracted by appearances, but she caught his eye.

Patrice started talking when she was sure he had his attention again, "She's working on an English degree, in teaching, and has experience with children, being the oldest of four. She has a brother and sister about Charlie's age and a sister of a few years apart. She has experienced it all, Emery."

"And why do you suppose she'd be the best one?" Emery asked, crossing his arms.

"Because," Patrice smiled, looking to the screen herself. "I had to teach her myself. She was an absolute pleasure. I know you too. You both would click, no doubt about it."He glanced back at the young woman on the screen. His eyes probably said it all, as Patrice picked up her phone and dialed a number that she knew well.

"Hello? Good morning, Delilah. Can you bring Ceony to my office? After your classes, since I know you both have language arts in five minutes...ah, yes. I may have a proposition for her. I know how much she needs to support her family on top of her classes. This will be less stressful for her..." Emery listened intently, as Patrice gave a knowing look. She was spilling more information onto him, in hopes he'd accept the young Ceony Twill. "Her job right now is too far...yeah. My old student is here and I think an au pair would work nicely..." Patrice continued to speak and Emery looked back to the picture.

Charlie might like her, he thought, thinking of his young son speaking and listening to her. Perhaps an au pair would be beneficial. He wasn't the best father, especially with everything that had happened prior to finding out about his son.

Patrice got off the phone and spoke to him, "My assistant will be telling her of the job opportunity. I will forward her your number and you both can set up a meeting time." Just as she finished, Charlie came back to the office with his stuff. "Perfect timing, Charlie. I'm done speaking with your father. We can work out your assignments for the two weeks you will be gone for." The young boy merely nodded, barely even saying a word through it all besides the occasional, 'okay,' and 'yes, ma'am.' Emery wish he knew what was going through the child's head, but at this moment, he just couldn't bring himself to.

He really hoped that Ceony Twill was exactly how Patrice made her up to be.

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welcome to the first chapter of many! I plan to properly finish this, actually. :)

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